Maryland Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Md. Code Ann. Health Gen. §17-214

Covered Employers

All employers.

Applicant Testing

Applicant testing not subject to restriction.

Employee Testing

Employee testing authorized if supported by legitimate business reason.

Conditions & Methods

Testing only by certified laboratory. Confirming test after positive result at employee's expense.

Important Bulletpoints

An existing collective bargaining agreement with contrary provisions may prohibit an employer from conducting preliminary drug screening of job applicants.

Maryland’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene is tasked with certifying laboratories that may conduct alcohol or controlled dangerous substance testing for employment purposes. Drug testing must be done by duly certified testing laboratories only.

The services of a medical review officer may be required for confirmed positive test results.

Maryland drug testing laws allow for the use of hair specimen for pre-employment purposes only. The hair sample must only be one and half inches long from the body and cannot be used for purposes other than for testing for presence of controlled dangerous substances.

In case of a confirmed positive test result, the employer shall provide the donor employee within 30 days a copy of the test results, a copy of the employers’ written policy, the employer’s written notice of intent to take appropriate action, and a statement of employee’s right to request independent retesting for verifying the initial confirmed results. The information may be given personally by the employer or via certified mail.

Employers pay for all employment required drug testing costs. For retesting, the donor employee pays the cost of the retest.

Workers’ compensation benefits may be denied if personal injury of employee is due to unprescribed use of a controlled substance.

Medical Marijuana Law

House Bill 881 was approved on April 8, 2014, was signed on April 14, 2014 by Gov. Martin O'Malley and took effect June 1, 2014. This bill jointly tasked the Natalie LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop the regulations for a patient registry system and ID cards; to issue licenses for dispensaries; to settle fees; and set marijuana possession limits.1 It has been a painfully slow project roll-out but marijuana dispensaries are expected to finally open by late June 2017.

Qualified Medical Conditions

A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care;

A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:

• cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;

• severe or chronic pain;

• severe nausea;

• seizures;

• severe or persistent muscle spasms

The commission may approve applications to include any other severe condition that has not responded to other conventional treatments.


• It is prohibited to undertake any task under the influence of marijuana when such act would constitute negligence or professional malpractice;

• It is prohibited to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or boat while under the influence of marijuana;

• It is prohibited to smoke marijuana:

• in any public place;

• in a motor vehicle;

• on a private property that is rented and is subject to a policy that prohibits the smoking of marijuana on the property; or is subject to a policy that prohibits the smoking of marijuana on the property of an attached dwelling adopted by one a) the Board of Directors of the council of unit owners of a condominium or b) the governing body of a Homeowners Association

Recreational Marijuana

In April 2014, Senate Bill 364 was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. This bill decriminalized marijuana possession in Maryland. Possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana was reduced to a civil offense instead of a criminal offense prior to the bill. First time offenders face a $100 fine, a second offense up to $250 and subsequent offenses up to $500. Third-time offenders below 21 years of age will be made to attend drug education classes and evaluated for substance abuse problems.

In 2015, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed SB 517, which was seeking to decriminalize the possession or use marijuana paraphernalia and making the act of smoking marijuana in public a civil offense with a fine of up to $500, instead of it being a criminal offense. This veto was overturned by the General Assembly in January 2016.


SB 517 states that the provisions that make the possession of marijuana a civil offense shall not be taken to affect the laws relating to operating a vehicle or vessel while under the influence of or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance; nor do they authorize a person to engage in:

• smoking marijuana in any public place;

• smoking marijuana in a motor vehicle; or

• undertaking any task under the influence of marijuana, when such an act would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

The provisions for employers/employees were not explicitly stated in any of the above-mentioned bills, but in as much as marijuana use and possession is only decriminalized and not actually legalized, employers may reasonably expect that said bills will have no effect on their existing drug-free workplace policies, nor in their right to establish such policies in the interest of keeping a safe and productive workplace environment. In the case of employees who are also qualified medical marijuana patients, said employees will still be expected to adhere to company drug test programs and not show up for work while impaired by marijuana use.



Law does not define.

Quantity Allowed

Law does not address

How Obtained

Law does not address.

Liability Protections

Essentially a criminal insulation statute – person may introduce “Medical Necessity” as an affirmative defense if being prosecuted for possession of Marijuana.

Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

This statute is not about authorized use of Medical Marijuana.

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